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Re: <nettime> VW
Florian Cramer on Mon, 28 Sep 2015 02:55:38 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> VW


     It'll be very interesting indeed to hear what the stars of ~German
     media theory have to say about this. Maybe about as much as most US
     academics have to say about their role in imposing indentured
     servitude on subsequent generations...

   The German state of Lower Saxony owns more than 20% of Volkswagen
   stock, a legacy from the Third Reich when the company was founded on
   Hitler's order and owned by the NSDAP's labor organization. The
   Volkswagen Endowment, whose sole purpose is the funding of academic
   research, was created with the money that Lower Saxony and the federal
   government of Germany made when 80% of the company went public after
   WWII. As far as I know, all profits that the state of Lower Saxony
   makes from its remaining 20% share go into the endowment. And, Leuphana
   is a state university of Lower Saxony. - Whatever one may object to
   these close ties between state and industry (described as "state
   monopoly capitalism" by some Marxists), it also has some social
   advantages when companies are partially owned by the public and their
   profits go into financing public research and tuition-less public
   education.

   There are other aspects in German media theory, cultural studies and
   humanities academia that I find by far more objectionable. For example,
   how the more or less biggest names of German media theory and cultural
   studies - Friedrich Kittler, Peter Sloterdijk, Horst Bredekamp, Hans
   Belting - got in bed with Germany's yellow press tycoon Hubert Burda
   (owner of Hubert Burda Media, publisher of among others "Bunte",
   "Focus", "Super-Illu", the German "Playboy" and minority shareholder of
   German tv station RTL2) for Burda's conferences and publications on the
   "iconic turn", as documented on the website
   http://www.iconicturn.de. (The website itself is run by the Hubert
   Burda Foundation.) For those who can read German:
   http://www.welt.de/print/die_welt/kultur/article10863152/Bilder-rasc
   heln-nicht.html . Quick translation of the second paragraph:Â
   "Bazon Brock isn't Hubert Burda's only dialogue partner and
   intellectual friend. Peter Sloterdijk, Friedrich Kittler, Horst
   Bredekamp, Wolfgang Ullrich, Hans Belting are also part of the circle;
   top-notch art historians and cultural analysts, and reliable
   contributors to academic criticism. In Karlsruhe, where Burda's book
   was presented, they all sat in a half circle, an honorable club of men.
   It was quite touching how politely they all demonstrated their respect
   for the author. Wolfgang Ullrich, wonderfully insubordinate younger
   generation art historian, called his colleague, the Ph.D. art historian
   Hubert Burda, an 'embedded scientist' who had managed to infiltrate the
   business world for espionage work. Horst Bredekamp, wonderfully
   down-to-the-earth mid-career art historian, showed a reproduction of a
   'Hörzu' (German 'TV Guide') double page to praise its structured view
   on the world of television."Â

   - Regarding jaromil's objection that firmware (especially of critical
   technical devices) should be Open Source: yes, but this won't be
   enough. Volkswagen could have released its firmware in 2005 as Free
   Software/Open Source with the manipulation code cleverly obfuscated,
   speculating on the fact that the release would have remained relatively
   low profile (as opposed to popular Open Source software like, for
   example, Apache or the Linux kernel, which passes hundreds of critical
   eyes every day). For sure, the odds of discovery would still have been
   better then. But what's really needed are mandatory independent code
   audits for firmware - similar to the approval procedures for medical
   drugs. If such policies were in place, they also would have huge
   implications for the so-called "Internet of Things".

   -F


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